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« Hunky dory | Main | How is this not fraud? »

Crooked briefs

Yesterday a magistrate handed down a guilty verdict to the loons from the Plane Stupid group who went airside at Heathrow airport last year and disrupted operations for several hours. A jail sentence is, apparently, "almost inevitable". Many of the perps seem to have form for this sort of thing. Kara Moses, for example, has previous form relating to fracking and Didcot power station; Sheila Menon was involved at Balcombe.

Perhaps the most interesting one though is Melanie Strickland, who turns out to be a solicitor and author for the Law Society Gazette. 

Can't she be struck off for this kind of thing?

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Reader Comments (40)

I'm afraid that the days when being a solicitor equated to being an intelligent, law abiding person has long gone. Along with the burgeoning Malthusian growth in those adopting the title 'professor' of the 'university of Very Little', it has long lost its kudos. Hope she does get struck off, but I doubt it will happen.

Jan 26, 2016 at 9:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterTrefor Jones

Some of them are truly a concern and you'll know nothing till stuff goes wrong...which is why they need to be knocked off for such things as this. Its supposed to be a position of responsibility I thought and its not just in work hours.

5 months ago I turned a solicitor firm over for £600 in S.E London for incompetence handling probate. I was using a local MP to ensure they did not wriggle away from me while I skewered them.

Another DIY skill added.

Jan 26, 2016 at 10:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

Perhaps these guys hold a different historical perspective ?

London airports are busiest because it is the center of European and World usury .
The Dublin London route is the busiest short haul route in the world .
Not so much because of the Irish Sea.
No , because the scarcity dynamics are perhaps strongest in the oldest colony.

People are rational to reject pointless effort to build these castles in the sky.

Jan 26, 2016 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

It's very unlikely she'll face any kind of censure / sanction at all. Any punishable misbehavior would have to relate to her actions regarding her professional activities - and even then the bar (no pun) is set up in the clouds....

When one looks at the not unrelated antics of in particular Leigh Day (Balcombe and much else) and in other areas - Public Interest Lawyers - the scope for twisting / suborning the law to be a political bludgeon is considerable.

If political activist solicitors and barristers can fabricate evidence in cahoots with "heavily coached" complainants, have the case thrown out on the basis that the witnesses are "profoundly unreliable" and still not face any sanction then the legal industry really does need to clean its act up...

I feel fairly confident that somewhere, sometime the sheer weight of money in the Green Blob's coffers is going to force a prosecution of a heretic - m'learned friends aren't going to allow an opportunity for a nice Beemer or Merc or Tuscan hideaway to pass without a having a go.

Jan 26, 2016 at 10:15 AM | Registered Commentertomo

'Post-normal' (perverse) interpretations and judgements of law are becoming increasingly apparent in the legal profession (such as human rights claims), just as has happened within most of the sectors of scientific research involving political policy. If we, the normal public, can no longer have confidence in the application of justice and common sense in the courts, the whole fabric and stability of our society is threatened.

Jan 26, 2016 at 10:20 AM | Registered CommenterPharos

According to the (Guardian, eyeroll) article.

Heathrow is in breach of EU emission regulations.

Does anyone know what exactly that means and what proof of this is publicly available?

Jan 26, 2016 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

This kind of stunt was allowed to flourish after the IRA stopped being a problem. Now they're established in a world where we're back at risk from terrorism again. They have to stamp it out or put the police, public and the protestors at risk from confusing the two. Of course they never should have let it grow in the first place but too many politicians, police and legal people were happy to express their political views through activists of all kinds. Time for everyone to grow up.

Jan 26, 2016 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

She is in breach of the rules governing solicitors unless this can be viewed as an 'exceptional circumstance;, which I very much doubt. I don't think it will make much difference to her immediate lifestyle. She appears to be one of those left wing professional protestors whose source of funding is not transparent.

Jan 26, 2016 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterCB

Have crooked briefs got anything to do with getting your knickers in a twist?

Jan 26, 2016 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Messenger:- Only if you're into jockey sticks

Jan 26, 2016 at 11:11 AM | Registered CommenterPharos

Kara Moses is one of the greenpeace activists who climbed the Shard

Jan 26, 2016 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Bec Sanderson
Richard Hawkins

both of the PIRC - (resercher, director respectively)

both form that little town of Machynlleth

Franny Armstrong founder 10:10 - Plane Stupid - was alsoa director of of the PIRC,
and came up with the idea of 10:10 whilst there.

Adam Corner, is currently a PIRC trustee.

small green world.

Jan 26, 2016 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Does having a criminal record, including a prison sentence prevent a solicitor from claiming Legal Aid, on behalf of a client? If not, should it?

Jan 26, 2016 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Ella Gilbert

poor girl - just finished doing a climate change MSc at UEA....

Jan 26, 2016 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Richard Hawking (of the 13) is also the web designer for Abrahams/Mandia's etc Climate Science Rapid Response team

Richard - has his life invested in this cause: (chained up with Monbiot!)

"Richard now campaigns against open-cast coal mining, and coal generally. 'Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel known to man and if the government's to meet its climate change targets, we have to start leaving it in the ground.'

Not many people can say they've locked themselves to a digger with George Monbiot. 'It was exhilarating; there's a feeling that permeates society that the only power we have as individuals is as consumers. But being a consumer's very different to being a citizen, and for once in my life, I felt like a citizen, someone doing what they believed in.'

Richard Hawkins and Monbiot dressed as polar bears chained to diggers at a welsh coal mine

video - monbiot and co as a polar bears at the coal mine..

in the background we can see Christian Hunt (ex Greenpeace, CAT, CarbonBrief) running across the coal field in a green jump suit (Christian was also a trustee of the PIRC, (Hawkins PIRC director)

very small green world.

Jan 26, 2016 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Melanie Strickland (if its the same one) also works for a prominent (not environmental) charity that has an annual income of over £200 million

Jan 26, 2016 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Crooked briefs pants on fire :-)

Pathetic I know.

Jan 26, 2016 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

Bang them up, I say. I was travelling down to Bath on the 13th July and the chaos caused by these morons meant huge delays on the M25. Self righteous ignoramuses. I think it is possible however that as the Judge has talked about custodial sentences he won't actually pass one. Just intended to frighten them, unfortunately.

Jan 26, 2016 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

This story really warmed my heart:-)

Aggravated trespass is a summary offence, meaning it is always heard in the magistrates courts. It carries a maximum sentence of six months. I hope they get it.

I do also hope that Melanie Strickland get struck off the Law society Register, for having a criminal conviction and a custodial sentence.

Jan 26, 2016 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

@Messenger alerted us a few days ago on Unthreaded

Really disgracefully biased sub-headline in the Telegraph (my bold)
"Despite his past career in exploiting the environment for commercial gain, Sanderson [late of BP]supports the Heathrow runway protestors"
I checked his campaigning record by doing Google and Twitter searches ..zilch
Rather lucky for the "Plane Stupid" PR team and the family for their 28 year old daughter to get such a positive story out while she is on trial.
The original news story on the Heathrow Disruption and Intimidation exercise has audio where Nick Ferrari crushes a protester by pointing out that he stopped someone getting on a plane to visit sick mother in Australia
Hope the judge shows protesters that there isn't a right to disrupt people lawfully going about their business.
- Extra costs were incurred due to the protest ..and we expect airline customers and taxpayers to foot that bill ?

Jan 26, 2016 at 1:51 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Barry Woods - '..that little town of Machynlleth', where George Monbiot lived from 2007 to 2013.

Must be quite a place.

Jan 26, 2016 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil D

Don't let them know about this kind of demonstration which happened in Paris this morning. Looked pretty serious on BFMTV.

Jan 26, 2016 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

A disregard for the law, and for harming the interests of others during that disregard, is worthy of prosecution. Here is a case from Australia in which a leading green, fresh from supporting legislating 'Exclusion Zones' for demonstrations, has been arrested for demonstrating within one such zone:

"Tasmanian Greens former leader Bob Brown has been arrested for protesting inside an exclusion zone around a northwest logging site. Everybody knows Bob Brown is passionate about our environment. But where was his objection in 2013 when all Tasmanian Greens MPs voted for a draconian law prohibiting any form of protest – even silent prayer – inside a 150 metre exclusion zone around abortion facilities?


Jan 26, 2016 at 3:01 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade


I think the "Heathrow is in breach of EU emission regulations" quote is a reference to plans to reduce nitrogen dioxide concentrations in the UK .....

Apparently models suggest that increased road traffic in and around Heathrow will make the EU targets difficult to meet, according to groups opposed to airport expansion .....

Jan 26, 2016 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteveB

It is the same Melanie Strickland, she is an in house solicitor for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Jan 26, 2016 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

@The Dork of Cork, Jan 26, 2016 at 10:14 AM

London airports are busiest because it is the center of European and World usury .
The Dublin London route is the busiest short haul route in the world .
Not so much because of the Irish Sea.
No , because the scarcity dynamics are perhaps strongest in the oldest colony.

People are rational to reject pointless effort to build these castles in the sky.

The Dublin London route is was the busiest short haul route in the world

2014/15 figures will show Edinburgh-London as the busiest based on past annual traffic increases and traffic declines on Dublin-London

Jan 26, 2016 at 7:59 PM | Registered CommenterPcar

Stupid plain people would be more apt.

Jan 26, 2016 at 9:00 PM | Unregistered Commentermarc

@ mike fowle

> ... [although] the Judge has talked about custodial sentences he won't actually pass one. Just intended to frighten them


Actually upholding the law is a moot point where the Green Blob is concerned. Noble Cause Corruption (in this case, labelled by the magistrate as "principled") is stronger

Jan 26, 2016 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterianl8888

Dublin London has not seen traffic declines.

It has seen explosive growth.

Irish corporate fuel waste beats all in Europe at the very least.
We are model corporate drone fliers .

"Dublin Airport has recorded a 9% increase on air traffic to London, making the route the busiest in Europe, and the second busiest in the world. Dublin-London falls behind Hong Kong-Taipei, the world’s busiest route which boasts more than five million passengers.

The route is operated by Aer Lingus, CityJet, Ryanair and British Airways with flights to London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Stansted, London City and London Luton. With almost 4.5 million people on the route, Dublin-London accounted for almost 18% of Dublin Airport’s total traffic in 2015"

We do pointless and wasteful movement better then any other euro wage serf.

Jan 26, 2016 at 11:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Pcar; please let the plastic paddy make a complete tit of itself, it doesn't need any help.

Jan 27, 2016 at 12:25 AM | Registered CommenterSalopian

To correct the previous comment: Pcar; please let the plastic paddy make a complete tit of itself, it doesn't need any help.

Jan 27, 2016 at 12:48 AM | Registered CommenterSalopian


Aren't you jumping to conclusions? The Dork might be an illegal immigrant from the Middle East or India trying to sound like a garrulous native of Eire. My view is that he is slovakian, nice people slovaks, but their language and grammer are strange.
Mind you, if he suddenly stops posting we will have to assume that he has been recaptured and returned to a home.

Jan 27, 2016 at 4:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

Machynlleth is indeed Ecoloon Central and full of morons including The Centre for Alternative Technology which is a shrine to the idiocy of wind power. Hawkins spent a long time trolling Mid Wales anti wind farm groups and is a throughly nasty piece of work. Let's hope he gets a nice stay at HM pleasure

Jan 27, 2016 at 6:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterIolo

The more solicitors in Jail, the better, and fairer it is. There are a disproportionate number there already, so she will not be lonely.

Jan 27, 2016 at 6:51 AM | Unregistered Commenternicholas tesdorf

There are as many solicitors as policemen now, not that good for the wheels of justice. The Law Society is their trade union and is about protecting them and not the client, despite what they profess.

Jan 27, 2016 at 9:28 AM | Unregistered Commentersrga

As a Chartered Engineer, my Institution's Rules of Conduct are quite clear, & I have to conduct my professional & "public" private life accordingly, & at no instance must I bring, either deliberately or unintentionally, the reputation of said Institution, into disrepute! I am entitled to have "political views", but not to openly express them! The Law Society should have similar rules!

Jan 27, 2016 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

I am an American lawyer unfamiliar with English law. However, I did a search and found out that, not surprisingly, there is a code of conduct for English solcitors. See

The first basic principle applicable to solicitors is that: "You must:

uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice;"

It seems that Strickland violated this provision. In the US anyone can file an ethics complaint. It seems that there is no reason the same rule wouldn't apply in the UK. After she is sentenced, it would be interesting to see what would happen if she was reported for an ethical violation.

By way of background, an American lawyer, Bernadine Dohrn, who violated the law and supported violence during the late 60s and early 70s, still was able to find work with a prominent Chicago law firm notwithstanding her past law breaking history. see Ultimately, I don't see much happening to Strickland in the long term, although I think she should be subject to substantial sanctions.


Jan 27, 2016 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJD Ohio

Oh how unfortunate, I must apologise to Plane Stupid, I've been calling it Plain Stupid for yonks!

Jan 27, 2016 at 5:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Graeme No.3, 4.20 am:

"My view is that he is slovakian, nice people slovaks, but their language and grammer are strange."

Interesting idea, but Slavs and the Middle/Far East, don't do Gaelic/Celtic. The Dork is definitely - Iorish :- East Coast American Paddy. He may have originated from County Cork, or have imagined he once lived there. But he is a fraud, he keeps slipping in and out of the 'language', gets offended by 'rude' words, which no real paddy would. He's a troll.

Jan 27, 2016 at 11:39 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

@The Dork of Cork, Jan 26, 2016 at 11:39 PM

Feeding the Troll:

From the same source as Dork's quote:

"Our analysis shows that while Dublin - London Heathrow is in fact the busiest international route within the continent, it was only the eleventh largest during the first half of 2015, behind ten domestic routes"

I assume London-Dublin air traffic is due to bankers' usury and diesel consumption - diesel instead of food ingestion for heat & energy by pressurised bankers has increased in Eire ;)

Jan 28, 2016 at 10:57 PM | Registered CommenterPcar

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